Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Teton Circumcision(circumnavigation)

Alaska Basin: Sick

Wow, a real TR on a blog. Who knew this could be happening? Annie and I took off from SLC friday night, driving through the rain heading up to Jackson with hefty aspirations for the CMC route on Moran as well as the teton circumnavigation. We crashed outside the park near Gros Ventre(pronounced Grow Vont) on our standard roadside pullout. The rain proceeded to pound the orange swiss army tent to death throughout the night, causing water to saturate our sleeping bags. (the swiss tent isn't exactly 3 season, more like 1/2 season). We woke(we were awake the whole night) to still rainy skies, so we bagged Moran thinking it would be too wet anyway. About 9 we ventured outdoors and packed up our sorry soggy gear and headed out for whatever kind of adventure we could muster up in the rainy/cloudy weather, leaving the tent to dry out. We managed to run out to the Moran Falling Ice Glacier via the Leigh Lake trail in a rain delay, a 12 mile roundtrip run/schwak. Normally the approach to Moran is via canoe. We are not watercraft people so we thought we'd try the ground method. Not recommended. The first 3 miles are piece of cake flat trail. the last 3 are heinous amazon rainforest. We now know next time we come up to conquer Moran we'd better find a boat. Goofed around the rest of the day at the visitor center, avoiding the rain.

Annie shwackin over near Moran

We returned to our "campsite" to hopefully find our tent dry and warm, ready to provide another night of protection from the weather. "uh, where's the tent? " Our tent was nowhere to be found. The 4 rocks we had used to stake the sucker down where still in their original spots, only no tent. WTF? Did the forest service confiscate it? Wouldn't be our first run in with the law in regards to illegal camping. Did some rouge wind take it to its final resting spot? Did some teenage hooligans move it down the road like the movie "chronicle"? No answers. No note. It was stolen. We were hosed. Rain was approaching, it was 9 pm, we hadn't eaten. We weighed our options. Do we bail home? Do we sleep in the car? Do we pay half our life savings for a room in Jackson? We couldn't bail. Too easy. I refuse to pay $20 for a campsite, heck if I"ll pay $149 at the Lucky Cowboy Motel. Car it is. We lasted 1 hour in the hospital parking lot in Jackson before Bill from Jackson Hole Security pulled up asking us to leave. Jumangi this day sucks. Ended up in a residential neighborhood where the watchman was hopefully on break. Slept soundly with one foot under the brake, the other nursing the gas.

Sunday was a beautiful day. Went to church, did some sightseeing, took a short 6 mile hike up to Signal Mtn. No problem. Caved and paid $20 for a campsite.  Slept out under the stars sans tent.

Chillin at Jackson Lake

Monday. The big day. Weather was gorgeous. Clear blue, high 80. Took off from the Lupine Meadows about 7am, with a goal just to finish. No idea how long. A nice easy pace over to Jenny lake took us up Cascade. The next 5 miles were great, mostly flat extremely fun singletrack. 100% runable. We hit south fork of Cascade, and the climbing began. The next 5 miles up to Hurricane Pass were fairly steep, but runable in spots. Annie's knee was aching, so she was popping ibu like candy. I had been ignoring a long pinky toenail irritation since the beginning, but finally took my shoe off only to find my 4th toe had been rubbed raw with blood covering a large portion of my foot. I took a granite stone to that pinky toenail, filing it down,  and the pain became manageable. We hit the pass where surprise! it was windy. The run from here through alaska basin was killer good. Super fun down and pristine lakes. 2 more intermediate climbs up through buck  mountain pass and over to static divide put us near 10,800 our high point. A long fast descent into death canyon was by far the most unenjoyable part of the journey, pounding pounding quads. Stopped at death to regain some quad strength and I pounded my usual peps, string cheese, gu's, granola bar mixture. Bad choice. I wanted to hurl the last 9 miles. We ran down death, then over to the valley trail. I was under the naive impression it was totally flat 4 miles back to Lupine. Not at all. 9 miles and the climbs up and over Phelps, Taggart, and finally Bradley lakes were heartbreakers. Then of course the 1.7 mile sign at the intersection with the Lupine trailhead is something I akin only to the smell of dead skunk. Awful.  Finally crossed the line at 9:41, with annie coming shortly thereafter. Its done!

The route

Running up Cascade

Self portrait running
She loves me. Why I'm not sure.

Annie's "gu's". Celery and a pear.

Somewhere near Hurricane Pass

Annie fighting up to Hurricane Pass

Sunset Lake, mile 12 or so

Looking towards the descent into Death Canyon near Static Divide

The time
34 miles, 8k vert
Best time: Nelson/Honeyfield 6:10
Our time: 9:41
Total weekend mileage: 52
Official apology to Jared Campbell:the poc 50 sleeves are actually pretty cool

 We weren't going for a really fast time here, as Annie had a long run of 12 miles before this(on saturday) and she stopped lots for bathroom breaks, etc. We easily spent 1.5 hours resting, taking pictures, talking to tourons, etc. So if I were to do it again, I would hope I could get sub 8. But 6:10 is ridiculous. Nice job boys.  One of the best runs we've done by far. Way more doable than the R2R2R or Gannett for sure. Missed seeing "jacked my knee" court and future wasatch 100 finisher stevo as well as "that is a bunnion for sure" nato or even DI science teacher pete out there with us. Next time.


  1. Did you keep a GPS track that I could use or do you have the TOPO! file used to create the map above? Going to run this in a couple weeks. Thanks.

    1. Matt:
      I didn't have a gps, i copied that map from someone else. Just get a park map when you visit or print it off from the NPS website. The route is pretty easy to follow with a map.

    2. Cool, man. That's all I needed. Thanks.